How the Archer by Paulo Coelho changed my life.
A Story inspired on the book
Once upon a time, there was a young warrior. He was a bit lost in life. He didn’t know what to aim at. So he did what he had done the last time when he felt a bit lost. He went into the mountains to search for the magnolia tree.
The sun kissed the mountain tops and a cold breeze touched his skin. The wizard stood next to the magnolia tree as if he hadn’t moved since the last time that the warrior was there.
“Dear Learn More Wizard, I have come back to you. I need your wisdom again,” the warrior said. “Well, dear Read More Warrior, good questions lead to wisdom, so what is your question?” the wizard responded. “I’m a bit lost in life,” the warrior said,” It feels like I’m at a cross point in a multidimensional maze and I need to make an important decision. Should I go right or left? Up or down? Inwards or outwards? I don’t know. There are too many options.”
The wizard looked into the distance as if he had not heard a single word of what the warrior had just said. Right before the warrior wanted to go on, the wizard said, “When this tree was only just a little sapling, I was more or less your age. My room was a mess back then because whenever I tried to clean it, I just could not start. I didn’t know where to begin. Until my mom gave me the advice to stand at the door opening, look into my room and, start cleaning from left to right, that changed everything.” “And what is that supposed to mean?” asked the warrior. “It means that just for now, turn left in your maze, and keep turning left. In that manner, you will always find the exit. Later on, you might start to enjoy being in the maze, and then you can get more creative in your decisions, but for now, keep it easy and just keep turning left,” the wizard responded.
The warrior had his doubts about the wizard’s advice. What if turning left is not the right direction? Why can’t he just show me the way? He knows everything, right? I would never like to be stuck in a maze! The wizard interrupted the warrior’s thoughts by saying, “Look, it seems like you don’t get the point. Let me explain it in another way.” The wizard stepped to the tree and took a long, beautiful bow from behind it. “Take it,” the wizard said while holding it in front of the warrior. “I can see you have trained a lot with the sword, but now it is time for you to try something else.”
The warrior held the bow awkwardly in his hands, not being used to its fragility. He knew something was missing. “Where are the arrows?” the warrior asked. “At this point, the arrows are only in your thoughts,” the wizard said,” if you want arrows, you will have to make them yourself.” The sun was timidly hiding itself behind the mountains. “Warrior, I know I haven’t given you the answers you came for, but sometimes you have to find them yourself. It’s time for you to go now. There is only one thing left, I want you to remember:
When the warrior walked down the mountain path, he felt the weight of even more questions pushing him down.
Several years later, the warrior went back into the mountains. When the wizard saw him, he said, “I see you’ve come with the bow and some arrows as well.” The warrior took the bow off his back with a proud smile and said, “I want to show you what I’ve learned. Do you see the highest flower of the magnolia tree?” He loaded the bow, aimed, and let go of the arrow which pierced the flower. “Impressive,” the wizard said, “where do you have the arrows from?” “When you gave me the bow,” the warrior said,” it felt like unutilized potential. So I decided to make the arrows myself. I went into the forest to search for sticks, climbed into trees to collect feathers, and dived into the lake to find the right stones.” “And what did you do after that?” the wizard asked. “I started to train,” the warrior said,” I fired my arrows every day until I perfected the technique.” The wizard asked the warrior to shoot another arrow and another one, and another one, … Until nearly half of the flowers of the magnolia tree were pierced.
“How does it feel to be able to do that? To make no more mistakes?”, the wizard asked. “Well,” the warrior said,” it feels less exciting than I expected.” It seemed like the wizard was trying to hide a smile. “And how did it feel to make the arrows yourself? How did it feel to go into the woods, climb trees, and dive in the lake?” The warrior started to realize what the wizard tried to say. “It felt … fun. I lost track of time, and it felt challenging and meaningful at the same time,” the warrior said. “You see, “said the wizard,” working towards a specific goal is often more interesting and meaningful than the accomplishment of the goal itself.” The wizard took a necklace out of his pocket and gave it to the warrior, “This necklace will serve as a reminder that life is a journey. But you are the one that has to take the first step. From then on, it will be easier to keep going. So if you ever feel stuck again, just try something. Take your shot. Enjoy it
When the warrior walked down the mountain path, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. Suddenly, he had the urge to run. So he ran. He opened his arms, and it felt like he was flying. An invincible feeling diffused into every cell of his body. He had even more questions now, but that was okay, these questions lifted him up instead of weighing him down.
When you see the warrior these days, he is always wearing his necklace and leaves a path of arrows behind wherever he goes. Not for finding his way back, but for showing others the way.
Sometimes it can be very straightforward. Whatever you’re procrastinating on right now, take your shot and enjoy the process.